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Outdoor Hour Challenge #44 Mammals: Rabbits and Hares

Outdoor Hour Challenge #44
Mammals: Rabbits and Hares

1. Read pages 214-219 in the Handbook of Nature Study.

In this case, I would actually mark sections to read to your child about rabbits as a way to introduce them to an animal they probably haven’t seen in the wild. You do not need to read the whole section on rabbits but only as much as you think they will be interested in hearing. If you are using The Burgess Book of Animals, you may wish to skip reading from the Handbook of Nature Study to them altogether.

Although few of us will have access to a real rabbit of any sort to study up close, children will enjoy reading about the rabbit and then remembering some facts about rabbits for any future opportunities that may arise. Be creative and see if you can visit a pet shop that has rabbits that you can observe or let others know that you are studying rabbits and they may know someone who owns a rabbit that you can study with your children.

Here is a great link to read with your children that includes photos of the cottontail rabbit as well as images of the rabbit’s tracks.
Cottontail Rabbit

2. Supplemental Reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 1-3. After you read each chapter, stop and pause for a little discussion about the animals in each story. See if your child can narrate back to you a few facts about each animal. If narration is new to your child, you may need to prompt them at first but it does get easier as you practice. Use the illustrations if you need to get them started.

“The purpose of this book is to acquaint the reader with the larger groups-orders, families, and divisions of the latter, so that typical representatives may readily be recognized and their habits understood.”
The Burgess Animal Book, Preface

3. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. Ask your children where they think that they might see a mammal. If you have snow or mud, look for animal tracks of any kind. Look for any other signs of animals as you walk. Look for gnawing marks on trees and plants. Look for scat or cones or seeds left from a meal.

“The cotton-tail thrives amid civilization; its color protects it from sight; its long ears give it warning of the approach of danger; and its long legs enable it to run by swift, long leaps.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 218

Don’t forget that you can also observe other mammals if you have the opportunity. Cats, dogs, squirrels, and horses may be available. You can draw attention to the similarities and differences between a rabbit and these other mammals. For example: How are a cat’s and a rabbit’s ears different? Why do you think they are different? How are a cat and a rabbit alike? (both have fur, both have four legs, etc.)

4. For your nature journal this week, try sketching two different kinds of rabbits. Use The Burgess Animal Book as a reference or you can Google Cottontail rabbit, Northern hare, Swamp rabbit, Snowshoe rabbit, Jack rabbit. (Please preview before you share with your children because many times the images are of dead rabbits.) As an alternative to a nature journal, see the resources below for printable activities.

Rabbit Lapbook on Homeschool Share
Rabbit Coloring Page


13 thoughts on “Outdoor Hour Challenge #44 Mammals: Rabbits and Hares

  1. My 11yod and I are so excited about finally starting the Outdoor Challenge. She really wants to study mammals; this nine week series couldn’t have come at a better time for us as we are abandoning our current science curriculum for the time being (we picked it out at the beginning of the school year and have barely looked at it since). I owe you much thanks for demystifying HNS for me…the book has been on my shelf for nearly 9 years, staring at me, pleading with me to open it up and use it. I just didn’t knwo where to start or how…you are awesome! Thanks for all your hard work!

  2. We are so excited to begin the mammal study! We’ve already read two chapters of the Burgess Animal Book and it is fascinating! My dd (6) picks up the details so well…her comprehension has noticiably improved over the course of this school year. Yay!

    AND, believe it or not, we live in a rather busy city, but we also live a block away from a golf course, so we get a regular visitor in the spring/summer months…a rabbit-right in our own, fenced in backyard! We get LOTS of clovers growing in our grass and we attempted to grow a few stalks of corn…the only ones who ate those were the rabbit and squirrels! We will have to keep our eyes open this coming spring to see if we can pinpoint the type of rabbit who enjoys our clovers. 🙂

  3. Yea!!! I am so excited this one is finally here!!! I am really looking forward to it!!! Thanks for all the work yiu’ve put into it!! Be Blessed, Angie in GA

  4. You may have included this somewhere else, but just in case you hadn’t, it looks like the entire Burgess Animal Book is available on-line for free at The Baldwin Project site “Bringing Yesterday’s Classics to Today’s Children”.


  5. Another resource is Librivox. Here you can download an audio version of the chapters of the Burgess Animal book. (You could burn it to CD to listen to in the car!)


  6. Barb, for some reason I can’t download any of the pages off the website. Is it just me or is anyone else having this difficulty? Thanks so much! Looking forward to jumping on the bandwagon again.


  7. I have been so excited to get started again but it is so darn cold (temps in the teens and wind blowing) that we didn’t do so great on this first one. Phooey.

  8. I’m a little behind on this one – but I’m very excited since we are currently reading Burgess Animal Book and Burgess Bird Book.

    We live in a suburb of Cleveland Ohio but are very blessed to be surrounded by a very good park system. The nature centers provide monthly homeschool programs Sept-May.

    So we didn’t see Rabbits BUT on our hike (while it was snowing and through 2 ft of snow) the other day, at one of the metroparks, we saw white tail deer – a whole family – from young to old and even a buck, antlers and all. Very Cool!!

  9. Better late than never, right! I just posted our Nature Challenge information. My boys are really excited about this Mammals Study!
    Thnaks as always for all you do!!
    Be Blessed-Angie in GA

  10. My 13 and 15 year-olds were the photographers today. My 17 and 10 year-olds can try tomorrow. They really enjoyed taking the pictures as part of our first Outdoor Challenge.

  11. Hi Barb,

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve linked your post. Hope that is okay!!

    Maybe we’ll get some Aussies into the mammal challenges!!


  12. Of all the days that we tried to look for rabbit tracks, none were to be found during the winter/early-spring snow storm. We learned that rabbits like to stay nice and dry on days like these.

    However, I included quite a few pictures from past nature walks of rabbit tracks, pellets, and gnawed-on wood. Also included different things we’ve done related to rabbits over the past few years.

    Here’s the post about our experience:

  13. We did another nature journal entry about rabbits after fostering a rabbit. It gave us a better appreciation for these cute and fascinating animals.

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